NEW YORK (PIX11) — Two members of Congress who fall on opposite ends of the political spectrum came together Monday to push back against congestion pricing.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis of New York and Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey say when and if this plan goes into effect, it’s going to hurt their constituents the most.
During a Monday press conference at the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel in Midtown, they outlined a bipartisan strategy to combat the controversial plan that will tax drivers a hefty toll when they travel into Manhattan south of 60th street.
“I think it’s just the wrong time and the wrong type of program,” Rep. Malliotakis told reporters.
Rep. Gottheimer agreed, citing inflation and recession concerns.
“It’s already far too expensive to go over the GW Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel – $16?” he said. “That’s too much. I mean, we have hard-working people here that are trying to make ends meet.”
The bipartisan effort includes introducing legislation that will require the inspector general to conduct a full audit of the MTA to see where billions of federal dollars have gone over the last few years, including $20 billion in COVID emergency relief.
“$15 billion with a ‘B’ and what did they do with that money?” Gottheimer asked. “They seem to have blown it like they were on an all night bender.”
Both officials are calling for a more robust environmental impact statement to be done to get a better idea of what they say will be the consequences of what a congestion pricing plan will have in areas outside of the toll zone.
In the MTA’s environmental review of the plan – which was released last week – the agency predicts that their plan may send as many as 700 diesel trucks from Lower Manhattan into the Bronx.
It’s something both Gottheimer and Malliotakis highlighted, and it’s a concern now on the mind of Rep. Ritchie Torres, who not only represents the Bronx, but insists he is historically in favor of making congestion pricing a reality.
“I am calling on the state to either modify the plan or mitigate the environmental impact on the Bronx,” Torres told PIX11 NEWS.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine says the time is now to get the plan up and running.
He does, however, agree that the environmental concerns of pollution to the Bronx are valid.
“Even one truck has a negative impact and has to be accounted for,” he told PIX11.